First 5 LA Gives Tips on Preparing Your Children for Kindergarten
While most kids are now on their first or second week of school, some of the anxiety preschoolers feel when they embark on their new chapter in life – preschool – may still be there. Here is a press release First 5 LA published that may be helpful to ease some of that anxiety. By helping them be successful in the classroom, kids will be more confident and will welcome going to school with a smile!
LOS ANGELES———Parents may think the markers for a child’s success in kindergarten are knowing colors, counting into double digits, and recognizing letters of the alphabet. But equally important is a child’s ability to successfully socialize with others – and parents can do plenty to support their child’s development in that and other areas, smoothing their transition to school.
In kindergarten, children learn more about communication and social skills than academics, so they must be able to cooperate and play with other children. “Most of your child’s kindergarten day will require that he or she relate to and work with the other children, collaborate on projects and share toys,” said Evelyn V. Martinez, chief executive officer of First 5 LA, a child advocacy and grantmaking organization. “Children who are comfortable working in groups do the best, and if your child has been in preschool, he’s probably already adept in this area.”
But if your child hasn’t attended preschool or seems uneasy in groups, Martinez suggested parents consider enrolling their child in a group activity such as a gymnastics or music class or taking her to playgrounds, libraries and other neighborhood places where she can meet other children and learn to play with them. And if you know your child is reluctant to join in games like “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” or “Musical Chairs,” practice these at home with her.
With the start of the new school year just around the corner, First 5 LA offers the following tips on activities parents should continue through kindergarten to help support their youngster’s successful transition to elementary school:
Social and Character Building Skills
- Provide opportunities for your child to spend time with other children playing and talking.
- Encourage your child to share and to take turns.
- Give small chores or jobs to your child so that she may experience what it’s like to have responsibility and a sense of accomplishment.
- Maintain a daily routine so that those early school days go more smoothly.
- Talk and model how to express feelings appropriately and with self control.
- Remind children to listen when others talk. Teach them to look into the speaker’s eyes, and to wait their turn to speak.
Letters and Numbers and Color Skills
- While unpacking grocery bags, parents can count the items and ask the child to count with them.
- Ask your child to put the cans in size order, or to alphabetize them if he already knows some letter sequences.
- Have your youngster identify colors on his clothes, cereal boxes, etc.
- Help your child understand the difference between words like “same” and “different” or “more” and “less” when she expresses her thoughts.
- Put three oranges and a banana in a bowl, and ask your youngster to choose the one that’s different.
- Discuss words that describe a place such as the prepositions “under,” “above,” “beside,” and “through,” and words that describe time, such as “before” and “after.”
Developing Fine Motor Skills
- Before children can learn to write, they have to develop their fine motor skills. To help this development, give your child small jobs to do around the house that encourage him to use the muscles in his arms and fingers, such as opening mail, sorting silverware, stirring batter and tying shoes.
- Buy thick markers or pieces of chalk and encourage your child to spend some time drawing — whether on a big pad of paper or on the driveway. Playing with fluid materials like water and sand will help coordination as well.
Encouraging Your Child to Read
- Read to your child each day, and encourage her to make up her own stories as she looks at pictures. You can also ask your child to tell a story for you to write down; then you can read it back to her, and she can “read” it back to you.
About First 5 LA
First 5 LA, a child advocacy and grantmaking organization, was created by California voters to invest Proposition 10 tobacco tax revenues to support programs for improving the lives of children from prenatal through age 5 in Los Angeles County. For more information on First 5 LA’s programs for parents and children call 1-888-347-7855 or visit www.first5la.org.
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